Skip to main content

Full text of "Verdict On India"

See other formats

PAUSE FOE,  BREA1H                                      83
trident in cue baud and the scales of justice in the other ^the
caption normally accompanying this old-time favourite is 'Watch-
man, what of the night ?').
After the clouds have gone on piling till the suspense is really
intolerable, the Drop comes. The Dingle, portentously significant
Drop. The Drop with a capital D...the Drop that is the
* harbinger' (no other word must be used) of the gracious torrents,
the life-giving floods, the babbling brooks and all the rest of it,
including the bank balances of the fat Hindu grain, merchants
who have been gambling on a good harvest.
I love rain, but this rain goes too far; it is sadistic. Xot only
from stormy skies does it hurl itself but from clear blue heavens,
turning streets iixto rivers, and human beings into ants under a
I simply cannot get used to the number of servants in the flat.
There is Lionel the butler, and his assistant, Jackie the cook, and
his assistant, Ramah the house-boy, Ayah the maid, and my own
bearer Hussein. Seven, for a small flat with three bedrooms—the
sort of place which in England would be kept in perfect order by
one old charwoman working three hours a day.
The servants sleep in, the strangest places. Anybody who comes
in late at night has to step over three of them, curled up in the
lobby. Jackie sleeps on the kitchen table, and the Ayah some-
times retires into the linen-basket. One day Ramah did not appear
in the morning. He had been given up for lost when, just before
lunch, A------noticed a small foot protruding from under the sofa.
The foot belonged to Ramah, who was fast asleep.   How he
managed to crawl into so small a space is a mystery.
Yesterday we had a typical example of the way in which
religious superstition dominates the average young Indian. For
some reason or other, the kitchen boy came into my room. His
leg was covered with dreadful sores. When, the doctor arrived
that night I said, 'You really ought to do something about that
> T>oy's leg.'
'I've been trying to get him to go to hospital for weeks,4 he
replied, w But he won't go/